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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 February 2006, 18:18 GMT
Cruickshank sparks Olympic alarm
By Anna Thompson
BBC Sport at the Winter Olympics

Roger Cruickshank
Cruickshank has an eight-inch metal plate in his knee
British skier Roger Cruickshank has experienced at first hand the tight security for the Winter Olympics.

The speed specialist set alarm bells ringing at the gate as he entered the athletes' village in Sestriere.

Cruickshank, who goes in the downhill and super-G, realised the cause was the eight-inch metal plate in his knee.

"The security man was very apologetic when he saw my scar. Normally it doesn't go off. They must be extra sensitive here," he told BBC Sport.

Cruickshank, from near Banchory in Scotland, is just pleased to have made it to the Games after a horrific racing accident last March.

I hope people realise what it means for me to get here
Roger Cruickshank

The RAF flying officer was told by his surgeon his competitive skiing days could be over after shattering his tibia and needing a permanent metal plate with nine pins inserted into his knee.

But the 23-year-old refused to give in and qualified for the Turin Games with a 17th place in a Europa Cup downhill in Italy in January.

"I had to prove my form and had just two chances at Salla Nevea so I was mightily relieved when I finished 17th. Then in a second race I was 19th so in effect I qualified twice," he said.

His British team-mate Finlay Mickel has more of a medal chance but Cruickshank believes he can finish in the top 15.

Roger Cruickshank
Cruickshank will compete in the downhill and super-G in Turin

"There is no pressure on me. I can just go for it and ski the best I can because I have nothing to lose," he said.

Cruickshank is still in pain when he skis and has to have regular intensive physiotherapy with physio Sandi Lyall and will have to compete with a carbon-fibre brace strapped around his left knee.

"The knee is not fantastic but it's manageable and I'd much rather be racing with a brace than not racing at all," he said.

Cruickshank has been savouring being at the Games and had a boogie at the athletes' village disco with Canadian, American and Australian athletes.

He said: "The athletes' village is fantastic and caters for absolutely everything."

His family will be watching the downhill on Sunday on television back in Scotland but his father Lester and sisters Claire and Emily will be flying out to watch him in the super-G on 18 February.

"Just to be here is my great achievement," he said.

"I hope people realise what it means for me to get here and see what I have done to qualify.

"It's such a reward for all the hard work I have put in and I can't wait to race."


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